Ora Ora signs rising artist Joseph Tong, exclusive representation in greater China and South Korea

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Ora Ora signs rising artist Joseph Tong, exclusive representation in greater China and South Korea
Installation view of Joseph Tong’s Ex Materia (Transfiguration), Part II (Permutation I), 2022.

HONG KONG.- Ora-Ora has announced its representation of the highly sought-after Berlin-based artist Joseph Tong in Greater China and South Korea. Tong will mark his debut with Ora-Ora in March 2023, with a dedicated solo show at the gallery's Tai Kwun space in Hong Kong. Titled Ex Materia - The Primacy of Being, Tong’s inaugural exhibition at Ora-Ora will coincide with the Art Basel Hong Kong week.

Often examining points of cross-cultural intersection between Eastern and Western philosophical, theological and mythical canons, Tong introduces visual narratives in which to debate, dissect and evaluate how these belief systems interrelate in a contemporary idealogical context.

CEO and co-founder of Ora-Ora, Dr. Henrietta Tsui-Leung said, “From the first time I experienced Joseph’s work, I looked for ways for us to collaborate. His intellectual curiosity, his artistic audacity, and the breadth of his aesthetic imagination makes him a logical and exciting fit with Ora-Ora.”

For his upcoming show in 2023, Tong will present new works from his existing series, Ex Materia and Ex Materia (Transfiguration). Inspired by proto-theology as well as primitive mythology, this series forms a dynamic visual chronicle that illustrates topographical motifs, drawing upon the idea of beauty in symmetry (as prevalent in nature). The works will be organized in mirrored compositional constructs, forming kaleidoscopic patterns and uniform systems of reference. This new body of work can be qualified as mystical, primal, terrene; forming an instinctive expression through elaborate compositions.

Among other notable series, Atlas Obscura (The Dictaean Cave) (2019) further investigates the cave motif, which is prevalent in philosophy, mythology as well as theology. This series perpetuates the narrative of preternatural realms, referencing, in particular, Plato’s "Allegory of the Cave," which ruminates on the nature of belief versus knowledge. The allegory of the cave is a metaphor designed to illustrate human perception, ideologies, illusions, opinions, ignorance and sensory appearances.

Joseph Tong said: “I am thrilled to join Ora-Ora, whose dynamic program I have long admired, and to be welcomed into a fellowship of like-minded artists. I look forward to establishing new dialogues and creative exchanges with the support of a gallery that stimulates both Eastern and Western cultural narratives, and which has long been at the forefront of showcasing Asian contemporary art. I am excited to present a new body of work at the gallery in 2023, during Art Basel Hong Kong in March, which will grant me the opportunity to share my ideas with a new audience in Asia and beyond.”

Further details of Ex Materia - The Primacy of Being will be announced in due course.

Joseph Tong
Joseph Tong was born in Hong Kong in 1981. He graduated with a BA in Philosophy from King’s College, London in 2001. He currently divides his time between Berlin, London and Hong Kong.

A multi-disciplinary artist, Tong resists categorization and challenges the viewer to reject passivity. By inviting questions of medium and materiality through a multidisciplinary and experimental approach, his practice spans oil and ink painting, digital art, photography, sculpture and site-specific installations. Tong advances a body of work with a dynamic visual vocabulary that often blends digital treatments with analogue craft, as he confronts the nature of optical perception and the idea of hypothetical reality through experiential representation. He simultaneously researches the potential of digital image manipulation processes in cross-media application, and the development of new materialities.

The artist has previously been the subject of solo exhibitions, including Remembrance of Realms Past, Avalor, Zurich; Obscurae, IAM, Munich; Beyond the Oecumene, Galerie Isa, Mumbai; and elsewhere. Recent institutional exhibitions include Behind the Great Wall of China - New Chinese and Brazilian Art at Museu de Arte Brasilia, Centro Cultural Correios, Rio de Janeiro, and Instituto CPFL, Campinas. International art fairs include Abu Dhabi Art; India Art Fair; and Art Central Hong Kong. His work can be found in the collections of Sammlung Wemhöner, Germany; Swire Collection, UK; Soho House, Hong Kong; and other institutions around the world.

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